Annoying Anti-Car Headline of the Day

From Richard Florida’s twitter feed, I get:

One Hour Spent Driving = 20 Minutes Lost Life Expectancy:

So let us think what this means for people who drive one hour per day every day for 60 years. Expected life expectancy is reduced by 60 years times 365 days per year times one hour times 1/3 hour of life lost per hour of driving. This all comes to 7227 hours, or about 300 days. So driving every day for one hour means we lose 10 months of life expectancy (move these numbers around as you wish).

But what if we weren’t able to drive at all (and buses and shared-rides vans count as forms of driving)? I am guessing we would be much poorer–mobility has at least something to do with our affluence. Maybe we wouldn’t be as well nourished. Maybe we would face more economic stress. I can’t be certain, but I would be willing to bet that if we stopped driving altogether, our life expectancy would fall.

I have long supported Pigou taxes on the negative externalities created by automobiles. I support subsidies for transit as a matter of social justice. But do I think cars have provided a net benefit to living standards and life expectancy. Sure!

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About Richard K. Green 103 Articles

Affiliation: University of Southern California

Richard K. Green, Ph.D., is the Director of the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate. He holds the Lusk Chair in Real Estate and is Professor in the School of Policy, Planning, and Development and the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California.

Prior to joining the USC faculty, Dr. Green spent four years as the Oliver T. Carr, Jr., Chair of Real Estate Finance at The George Washington University School of Business. He was Director of the Center for Washington Area Studies and the Center for Real Estate and Urban Studies at that institution. Dr. Green also taught real estate finance and economics courses for 12 years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he was Wangard Faculty Scholar and Chair of Real Estate and Urban Land Economics. He also has been principal economist and director of financial strategy and policy analysis at Freddie Mac.

His research addresses housing markets, housing policy, tax policy, transportation, mortgage finance and urban growth. He is a member of two academic journal editorial boards, and a reviewer for several others.

His work is published in a number of journals including the American Economic Review, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Journal of Urban Economics, Land Economics, Regional Science and Urban Economics, Real Estate Economics, Housing Policy Debate, Journal of Housing Economics, and Urban Studies.

His book with Stephen Malpezzi, A Primer on U.S. Housing Markets and Housing Policy, is used at universities throughout the country. His work has been cited or he has been quoted in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, the Christian Science Monitor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsweek and the Economist, as well as other outlets.

Dr. Green earned his Ph.D. and M.S. in economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He earned his A.B. in economics from Harvard University.

Visit: Real Estate and Urban Economics Blog

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